Case study – Department of Industry, Innovation & Science

An innovative, user centric approach to achieve digital documents management


Awards for Digital Excellence winner 2017

The Department of Industry, Innovation & Science took an innovation approach to increase its compliance with the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy by embracing information governance and taking a user centric approach to digital documents management. Through the development of a ‘manage-in-place’ SharePoint 2013 documents management system, the department has delivered a platform which aids collaboration amongst staff while taking care of their record keeping obligations in the background.

Agency overview

Department of Industry Innovation and Science
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science - winner large agency category (over 1000 staff) for their case study: An innovative, user centric approach to achieve digital documents management.

The vision of the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science is to enable growth and productivity for globally competitive industries. To help realise this vision, the Department has four key objectives: supporting science and commercialisation, growing business investment and improving business capability, streamlining regulation and building a high performance organisation.


The 2015 Check-up Digital submission identified the department’s compliance with the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy as being below average compared to other Commonwealth departments. As a result, an Information Management Programme was established to address the department’s compliance with the DC 2020 policy through a number of projects including digital documents management, paper reduction, policy update etc.

Project objectives

The objective of the project was to implement a digital document management solution in the Department which was primarily focused on user requirements and also improved compliance with the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.

Project execution

The project was delivered using ‘agile’ project management methodology which saw the system co-designed through the establishment of a working group of user representatives from across the department.

Over a three month period the working group developed a standardised system requiring minimal design work, which could be easily rolled out across the department within a short timeframe. A ‘minimum viability product’ commenced rollout to divisions in July 2016.

The design and build of the department’s new digital documents management system (DocHub) was completed using SharePoint 2013 as a platform, modified to meet ‘manage in place’ requirements as per ISO16175, Part 3. This enabled users to meet their record keeping obligations through simply saving their documents into DocHub, removing the need to duplicate their documents in an official EDRMS or to backend the system into an EDRMS.

The rollout of DocHub was supported by extensive change management including engagement, communications, training and support. The department’s executive were kept well informed of the overall programme of work and the SES in the department were all briefed by members of the project team ahead of each rollout. A divisional presentation, question and answers session was held on the day of the launch followed by two weeks of small group training sessions both in the head office in Canberra and via a mobile training room to the state offices. Skype training was also offered to staff in regional locations.

Project outcomes

The system provides the department with an innovative and improved approach to document management, developed in consultation with end users to produce a user centric solution on a record compliant SharePoint 2013 platform. The system allows users to perform their work without having to transfer the information to another system just to meet record keeping requirements.

The progressive delivery of DocHub to divisions within the department was rapid and completed by January 2017 (six months). During this time the system was rolled out to over 2000 staff in Canberra, as well as state offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart and some remote locations across Australia.

Project impact

More than 58000 documents have been saved in DocHub since commencement of rollout in July 2016.

Immediate benefits that have been realised include:

  • improved end user experience through collaboration and simplified processes
  • reduced duplication of records through implementation of manage-in-place record keeping (ISO16175, part 3 compliance)
  • consistent approach to document management across the department as staff have one place to store documents as the option to create paper files or save documents to shared drives in no longer available
  • improved coordination and collaboration on documents by departmental staff through SharePoint 2013 features such as co-authoring. For example, the latest incoming Ministerial brief was prepared in under 48 hours with 64 unique users editing the one document 388 times
  • reduction in creation of paper files across the department, coupled with an increase in digital record keeping The creation of paper files has decreased from approximately 580 files per month down to almost nil
  • seamless record keeping for end users, by saving documents into DocHub, record keeping is completed
  • increased visibility to document access and edit through version history and audit logs
  • enhanced search capability across the sections, divisions and department. Staff are now able to search on document title, metadata and content

Above benefits are supported by the following quote from a user in the department:

“DocHub allowed faster editing by a team of around a dozen people, more efficient clearance without needing to wait on a circulating hard copy or email, and easier coordination and consolidation of input, for the multiple briefings needed for the Secretary’s recent trip to Europe. The Secretary expressed her appreciation for the quality of the briefing.” Andrew Ford, Science Policy, Science & Commercialisation Policy Division.

“DocHub is awesome for collaborating, versioning and for being an official records tool. Such an elegant solution – serious congrats to the smart cookies who designed and implemented it.” Emma Fielder, Service Management Section, Shared Services Branch, Corporate Network.

The department’s has increased in 16 of the 18 criteria in the Check-up Digital 2016 survey. The department has now moved past the average performance of Commonwealth departments as reported in January 2017 and is now ranked 37 out of 164 agencies.

The National Archives of Australia along with a number of other Government Agencies have also contacted the department to discuss the department’s innovative approach and receive a demonstration of our solution.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018